In preparation for Open That Bottle Night (live, only on Palate Press; Saturday, February 26 from 7 pm - 10 pm EST), Gary Thomas, Palate Press Wine Review Editor and Editorial Board Member, shares some information on the bottle he plans to open for the event.
A rather fascinating red blend from South Africa. A wine that is fat but racy enough that it doesn’t have to go on a diet. A big nose of smoke, bacon fat, and blackberries. Follows through with vanilla and cumin notes and nice tannic structure on the intrigued taste buds. Like all good shows, ends with a big finish. If there ever was a wine to go with BBQ spareribs, this is it, to my (admittedly subjective) way of thinking.
Here is a elegant and earthy red from Spain’s Catalonian region and the Montsant D.O. Very tight when first opened, with aromas of bittersweet chocolate and black tea. It gives up its secrets slowly and you’ll be rewarded by keeping it in the glass and returning to it. It slowly opens up on the palate with layers of dark blackberries and spice (cumin, for one). This wine would work well with grilled kebabs or even Indian food.
A nice offering from Chile. The name refers to all the vineyards from which the winery has sourced fruit. This one comes from three separate areas alone. Dark, with some hints of licorice, vanilla, and anise on the nose. This has some dark berry flavors but the fruit is not intense . Pleasant, if not overly lingering, finish. Try with grilled pork chops or sausages.
Tasted at a recent show of North American wines, this red blend stood out of the bottled crowd. Deep, opaque purple color shows off a nose of violets and dark chocolate and toast. Chewy and dense at first, it yields languorous blackberry and pepper flavors upheld by soft tannins and a nice sugar balance. A very nice yin and yang of velvet and strength. A great wine with winter dishes, especially a cassoulet. But it’s not just for winter, either. Pricey, but a keeper.
A far better offering than its sister Beaujolais Nouveau wine for nearly the same price. This one has nice hints of strawberry and even cedar on the nose. Diving into it (not literally, of course) yields more tannic backbone holding up bright, lively flavors of cherry jam and a hint of allspice. It finishes with a slightly lingering flourish, which while not memorable, is still pleasant. This one is a nice holiday wine, especially with something like roast duck with cherry sauce.
Full disclosure notice: I’ve never been a big fan of most of these wines, finding them geared more toward marketing ploy than the palate. Approaching this one even with an open mind unfortunately confirms my prejudices. A nose of overripe berries and apples is somewhat promising but the follow through is both surprising and disappointing. The fruit seems short and tart, especially for a Nouveau—more like cranberry—and the finish is short. Even if you like this sort of thing, I cannot, even putting my predilections aside, recommend this one. The Nouveau Villages, however, is another matter; stay tuned!